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Tuesday, 17 February 1987
Page: 106


Senator MASON(9.17) —With deep concern and disquiet I heard what the Minister for Resources and Energy (Senator Gareth Evans) had to say. I remember going to Lucas Heights some years ago and looking around. I found out something which really appalled me which I raised here subsequently. That was that isotopes and other products coming from the Atomic Energy Commission to business which was using them for a profit were actually being supplied at a loss. In other words, the community generally and public revenues were subsidising this work. If the Atomic Energy Commission is capable of that degree of charity to the business community, God knows what will happen once the Minister has a group of businessmen on an advisory committee to heavy him into doing even more of that sort of thing.

I would have thought that the kind of advisory committee which the Minister mentioned is absolutely unnecessary. Liaison can be carried out with business on an arm's length basis. I would have thought that any Minister would know that by now. It is best carried out on an arm's length basis, not with a snug little advisory committee telling the Organisation what to do and how it can best serve Australian business and get everything out cheaply. It seems a little confusing. This advisory council is to include one member of the staff of the Organisation. I cannot see why it should have one member of the staff of the Organisation if indeed it is to be a business user oriented committee which, presumably, will make decisions and then tell the Organisation what it is to do. Not only I but also the residents of Sutherland Shire will be deeply disquieted at this revelation of what this advisory committee is to be.